14 August 2007

Of Cinnamon and Coffee

Most people have a favorite place to stop for coffee. I'll stop at other places but a certain feeling of happiness comes to mind when I realize I'm going to Victorian Pantry.

There are really only two reasons why I go. Being the creature of habit that I am (which is both bad and good, because I only want the same thing, each and every time, unless they are out of what I came for, then I must contemplate what else to try. That takes a bit, considering all their other fine offerings), I order the same thing each time. Coffee and one of their amazing cinnamon rolls.

Double C
A practically perfect pairing

Let me preface my sinful cinnamon roll fascination: One of my favorite breakfasts, desserts, or snacks that I like above all else, the treat that makes me feel like I'm eating a ray of sun from a chilly fall day (which sounds odd, I know, but I equate this with chilly, nippy, sunshiny fall days), is a really well-made cinnamon roll. Unfortunately, when I think of a purchased cinnamon roll I think of a of mildly-sweetened Wonder Bread or an overly greasy mound of globular waste, with a streak of cinnamon making a brief appearance, leaving you with a stomach ache for the rest of the day. And most likely the beginning of the next because it was the size of your head. (Even a small-sized head is still too big for a cinnamon roll.) Top all this off with a saccharin-sweet and vanillin taste that it makes the ye ol' Twinkie look like a delicacy. As you can tell, unless I make my own there is no equal.

Enter Victorian Pantry. I humbly bow my pastry-making skills before the best cinnamon roll I have tasted to date in my short existence on earth, their croissant cinnamon roll. You can tell by one glance that this is something special, something to write home about. The buttery, flaky crust, combined with the intense cinnamon filling that penetrates each bite you take, is one reason I put my health food etiquette aside for a moment of pure bliss. It's sweet but not of the gag-me-I-need-wawa variety. The spread of icing blends perfectly with the overall taste. Not the thick icing used to disguise the aforementioned Wonder Bread cinnamon roll, but the type of icing that melds with the rest of the flavors while intensifying the pleasure of the cinnamon swirls. The buttery crumb and the moist filling have great mouth feel -- not too chewy, no raw dough (I actually call it "cookraw" when something is a happy medium between overcooked and raw, so it's perfectly crisp on the outside while maintaining chewy, moist innards), but a lovely bite that pairs wonderfully with a sip of the Victorian Pantry's house blend, Walnut Roast Coffee.

Rare is it I find a place I like to sit with a book, a good pastry, stellar coffee, and just spend a few moments. Victorian Pantry is that place. I love the fact that it isn't part of a chain where the music drowns out your musings (the fact that the I dislike burnt coffee doesn't help matters much, either). Usually I find good coffee and okay pastries, but rarely both. All the better is the generosity of the chef and owner, Steven Stogdill, who gives free coffee refills (because that's just the sort of thing nice people do... Ahem. Starbucks...).

Notice the perfect swirls of pastry goodness

You can tell how awesome this will be simply by looking at the innards

3eeDee fork
Bites waiting to be eaten with giant fork

Victorian Pantry, Inc. Bistro & Catering
226 W. Cleveland Road
Granger, IN

Phone: 574-271-7881

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